This is the very first thing to decide before starting anything! So you need a departure date and an end date and the best possible course is to be flexible to a few days on it because it will allow you to have the best flights at the best prices.
Choose your destination
This is clearly the stage I prefer! It’s a real moment of dream and fantasy …
Depending on the dates you have set, there are therefore destinations that are to be avoided: the monsoon period in Asia for example or that of hurricanes in the Caribbean (we have evidence with Irma at this very moment). It is therefore necessary at this stage of the project to eliminate the destinations that you do not like, those to avoid for climatic conditions and therefore constitute a list of potential destinations. Remember to take into account the seasonal attendance that can influence your choice to avoid finding yourself in a horde of tourists, which can make your trip much less pleasant …
Now you have to question your desires: prefer a quiet holiday without touching the car, or rather a frenetic pace with a road trip, or want to live an experience out of the ordinary like a safari for example!
With all these new elements, you will be able to delete some more destinations on your initial list. Also consider the number of days you have on site. If for example you want adventures and road trip and want to discover the American West, it’s a great idea! On the other hand, if you do not have a week on the spot, it is clearly not the destination to privilege!
The sources I use
For the climate on each destination is very simple just tap on Google “Climate XXX” and you will find a large number of sites that show you tables month by month. In my eyes there is not one that stands out, I prefer to cross my sources and compare.
To give me an idea about a destination, I will most often see Expedia videos: they are short, very well done and give in a few minutes a very good overview of the place.
I also go to tour operator’s websites: perfect to inspire oneself and give oneself desires.
Do not forget Best adventure recommendation for luxury travelers magazines, specialized books including the “1000 things to see in the world” that I told you about in this article. There are also blogs but be careful to choose bloggers who have the same notion of travel as you, we are all different and have different desires and aspirations (thankfully for that matter!) But remember to take into account when you read them.
It’s not the part of pleasure, it’s even the one I hate … but hey we have to go through there. While some praise the price comparators, I find unfortunately no quick fix … it is primarily a question of hacking, we search, we change the dates, stops, … in short a big headache! If you have fixed dates it greatly simplifies the problem but it has a cost!
Most often I use the sites Google Flight and Rome2Rio that I find rather well done! Regarding the choice of the airline, I consult the sites Seat guru (ideal to choose the right place in the plane), Flight report (reports and ratings of flights and companies) not to mention also the annual ranking of Skytrax. In this way if you have the choice between several companies, as much choose the most pleasant!
Build the route
If you opt for a road trip, we must now build the route! To begin I buy a good paper guide that I Bach for a few hours to have an overview of the destination and its points of interest. There are also often in these guides defined routes that I use as a base and that I adapt by adding or removing steps, nights here and there! For example, for our road trip in the American West, I had built a route that had the base was for 3 weeks but that I transformed in 4 weeks for a mode a little quieter by adding a few nights and a step 4 days on a ranch (the Sorrel River)!
Book your accommodations
Start with the main accommodation of your stay. When I went to Ireland a few years ago, I spent one night at Ashford Castle and this was the first hotel I booked because they are often booked quickly (and it happens very often because I’m planning always my travels at the last moment!).
You can book directly on the site of the hotel or on Booking that I like very much because of its simplicity and its opinions. I will also consult TripAdvisor when I have a doubt for a choice of room category or to have less “marketing” photos.
Book your activities
Some activities fill up very quickly, this is the case for example for the visit of Alcatraz in San Francisco or if you have not booked a few weeks in advance no hope to get a ticket on the spot! Make a check list of activities, restaurants, shows that you do not want to miss and book if necessary.
For me it’s always a real moment of pleasure and that’s why I created Experiences Luxe a few years ago by noting that I spent a lot of time on my search for travel, beautiful hotels and destinations. But I must admit that it takes a lot of time (#jobapleintemps) and that everyone does not have this desire to devote so many hours! In this case, the best is to go through a good travel agency (be careful they are not all clearly worth it) who will take care of all this for you!
And what are your little techniques? Feel free to send me your comments or questions in comments or on social networks.